MACON – Mercer University senior Lindsey Hancock has been accepted into Teach For America and will spend the next two years teaching secondary English in Mississippi.
"Mercer is proud that Lindsey will be following the University's ethos of service to work with students in Mississippi. This is an important task, and it is a testament to her commitment to others," said Dr. David A. Davis, director of fellowships and scholarships and associate professor of English.
Hancock, from Thompson's Station, Tennessee, is an English major with minors in history and teacher education. A co-captain on Mercer's debate team, she credits Director of Debate Dr. Vasile Stănescu with encouraging her to apply for the program and inspiring her to pursue teaching as an avenue for social justice.
"This placement means everything to me," said Hancock. "Though I know I will face many challenges in Mississippi, I am excited to put my talents as a young educator to good use."
Hancock and the other new members of Teach For America's Mississippi corps will participate in a summer institute at Delta State University to prepare them to enter the classroom this fall.
She was among the 10 percent of around 40,000 applicants to be accepted to the program this year. After submitting an online application, she was asked to skip the traditional phone interview and proceed directly to an in-person interview, which also consisted of a five-minute teaching sample and a group activity with other applicants.
The Mississippi corps numbers around 300 teachers, who are working to improve education in a state where only 11 percent of students are college-ready upon graduation from high school.
"As a Teach For America teacher, I will be an activist for education equity, and I am so excited for the opportunity to fight for justice for my students in the classroom every day," Hancock said.
As a member of the debate team, Hancock was rated the 10th-best speaker nationally and the top speaker in Georgia in parliamentary debate this past year. She has shared her knowledge of debate with students at Tiftarea Academy in Chula, where she has served as debate coach since 2013.
Additionally, Hancock has contributed to Mercer's literary magazine, The Dulcimer, and she is a member of Delta Sigma Rho-Tau Kappa Alpha, Sigma Tau Delta, Omicron Delta Kappa and Phi Alpha Theta.
In 1989, Princeton University student Wendy Kopp proposed the creation of a national teacher corps in her senior thesis. The next year, Teach For America was founded, as 500 corps members taught in six low-income communities. Today, more than 10,000 corps members are teaching in 50 regions across the country, with an additional 37,000 alumni working in education and other sectors to help create the systemic changes that will end educational inequality.
Teach For America recruits, trains and supports top college graduates and professionals who make an initial commitment to teach for two years in urban and rural public schools and become lifelong leaders in the effort to expand educational opportunity. For more information, visit www.teachforamerica.org.